Aemilia Lanyer: Gender, Genre, and the Canon

Aemilia Lanyer: Gender, Genre, and the Canon

by Marshall Grossman
     
 

Aemilia Lanyer was a Londoner of Jewish-Italian descent and the mistress of Queen Elizabeth's Lord Chamberlain. But in 1611 she did something extraordinary for a middle-class woman of the seventeenth century: she published a volume of original poems.

Using standard genres to address distinctly feminine concerns, Lanyer's work is varied, subtle, provocative,

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Overview

Aemilia Lanyer was a Londoner of Jewish-Italian descent and the mistress of Queen Elizabeth's Lord Chamberlain. But in 1611 she did something extraordinary for a middle-class woman of the seventeenth century: she published a volume of original poems.

Using standard genres to address distinctly feminine concerns, Lanyer's work is varied, subtle, provocative, and witty. Her religious poem "Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum" repeatedly projects a female subject for a female reader and casts the Passion in terms of gender conflict. Lanyer also carried this concern with gender into the very structure of the poem; whereas a work of praise usually held up the superiority of its patrons, the good women in Lanyer's poem exemplify worth women in general.

The essays in this volume establish the facts of Lanyer's life and use her poetry to interrogate that of her male contemporaries, Donne, Jonson, and Shakespeare. Lanyer's work sheds light on views of gender and class identities in early modern society. By using Lanyer to look at the larger issues of women writers working within a patriarchal system, the authors go beyond the explication of Lanyer's writing to address the dynamics of canonization and the construction of literary history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813192666
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
11/01/2009
Series:
Studies in the English Renaissance
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction1
1A. L. Rowse's Dark Lady10
2Looking for Patrons29
3Seizing Discourses and Reinventing Genres49
4Sacred Celebration: The Patronage Poems60
5Vocation and Authority: Born to Write83
6The Feminist Poetics of "Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum"99
7The Gendering of Genre: Literary History and the Canon128
8(M)other Tongues: Maternity and Subjectivity143
9The Love of Other Women: Rich Chains and Sweet Kisses167
10The Gospel According to Aemilia: Women and the Sacred191
11"Pardon ... though I have digrest": Digression as Style in "Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum"212
12Annotated Bibliography: Texts and Criticism of Aemilia Bassano Lanyer234
List of Contributors255
Index257

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